Did you hear that sound? To answer really doesn’t require a lot of thought, you either did or you didn’t.
Did you process that sound? Now that’s more complicated. First of all, which sound did you mean? In a few seconds I identified the clicking of my keyboard, a bird chirping outside, my breathing, the dogs nails clicking on the floor, and my computer fan- all while listening to my favorite podcast. The Auditory Processing centers within my brain were able to discriminate, localize, and identify each one of those sounds (instantly and simultaneously). It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Auditory Processing is so much more than did or didn’t. It’s a highly complex brain action, one that NEVER rests.. not even while we sleep. And when it comes to speed, it’s one of the fastest. Did you know that we process sound 40x faster than we process sight? These are just a few reasons why I consider Auditory Processing a SUPER POWER!
It’s easy to take Auditory Processing for granted as it happens subconsciously and often without much effort unless you have an Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) in which case it becomes hard work to make sense of what you hear. Significant effort and energy is required to decode a distorted signal.
Consider this visual analogy… Imagine you are reading a book where water has damaged a large portion of the page. Some of the print is legible but much of it you have to try to piece together with the available clues such as the length of the word, the shape of the blurry letters and the context of what you can read. In the damaged portion it takes A LOT of extra effort to decipher what is printed and in some cases its just impossible.
In the case of an Auditory Processing Disorder the person affected sometimes receives “blurry” sounds.. making it a guessing game to differentiate such sounds as the /th/ versus /f/ sounds or /m/ versus /n/. Imagine the effort of trying to fill in the blurry gaps during a conversation or a lecture. It’s frustrating to say the least. While there are different types and severities of APD, they all cause barriers to communication, listening and auditory learning.
But I have GREAT news… the brain is able to adapt and remap AT ANY AGE!
The key is identifying the specific area(s) of concern and in frequent and FOCUSED training in those areas.